We all know that Jesus was crucified and died on Friday. Every year we recognize this day as Good Friday. On that day Joseph of Arimathaea took Jesus’ body from the cross and buried it. Luke 23:50-24:3 describes this event and tells us that the next day, Saturday, was the Sabbath. “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, that came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices that they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”
So Jesus died on Good Friday, rested in the tomb during the following day, Saturday, which was the Sabbath, and then rose early on Sunday morning, the day we call Easter Sunday.
Today nearly the entire Christian world goes to church and worships on Sunday. Why is this? When was the day of worship changed from the Sabbath, which we just saw is Saturday, to Sunday?
We go to church on a specific day of the week because of the Sabbath commandment. The Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20:3-17. In the Sabbath commandment God has not only given us a command to keep the Sabbath day holy but has also told us how to keep it holy.
This commandment is found in Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
This commandment tells us that God’s Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week. God’s holy Sabbath day is Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the week.
Before we look at the actual circumstances behind the change of the day of worship, let us look at one of the reasons given for Sunday sacredness.
Many claim that since we are living in New Testament times the Old Testament no longer applies to us. There was no New Testament in existence when Second Timothy 3:16 was written: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” This verse specifically refers to the Old Testament, and it tells us that the Old Testament is just as much in force today as when it was written.
Since the Sabbath commandment has been changed, can we find a Bible text that would document this change? As we search the Scriptures we run across Psalms 111:7-9. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people: he has commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”
These verses seem to indicate that the Sabbath commandment should not have been changed. In fact, these verses tell us that all of the commandments will be in effect forever. As we continue our search we find Isaiah 66:22,23. These verses tell us that those who are saved from the earth will be keeping the Sabbath day, Saturday, holy throughout eternity, in the New Earth, which God has not yet created. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the Lord.”
Don’t get discouraged about finding the verse that talks about a change in the Sabbath. It is definitely in the Bible, and we will read it shortly.
Our search further takes us to Revelation 11:19, which seems to indicate that the Ten Commandments are preserved in heaven for all eternity. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” Do you suppose that the Sabbath commandment has been deleted from the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant in heaven?
As we search the scriptures for the verse that indicates that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday, perhaps we can gain more insight into this change by considering what Jesus did when He was on earth. Luke 4:16 tells us that Jesus always kept the Sabbath day holy. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read.” Jesus had a custom of keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Of course, we all know that Jesus was our example as First Peter 2:21 says, “For this you were called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:” Since Jesus always kept the Sabbath day holy should we also keep the Sabbath day holy?
Let us now go to that verse that tells us about a change in the day to be kept holy. The verse is Daniel 7:25. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Here we see that someone would attempt to change God’s times and God’s laws. This verse in the Catholic Douay translation says “. . . he shall think himself able to change times and laws.”
Who is it that attempted to change God’s times and God’s laws? Notice that whoever it was also persecuted and killed God’s people — he “wore out the saints of the most High.”
As further evidence that Saturday is God’s holy Sabbath day, let us ask the people who tried to change the day of worship which day is the Sabbath:
Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday. — Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine(1957 ed.), p. 50.
The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. — Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
The observance of Sunday by the protestants is an homage they pay in spite of themselves to the authority of the [Catholic] Church. — Mgr. Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today, Boston: Patrick Donahoe, 1868, page 225.
The Catholics have changed God’s law extensively. They deleted the second commandment so as to allow their practice of bowing down and worshiping their images. They gutted the Sabbath commandment, which is their third commandment, removing all the instruction that God gave as to how to keep the Sabbath day holy. They also removed the instruction that God’s Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. In order still to have ten commandments after removing the second, they divided the tenth and made it their ninth and tenth.
By their own admission, in their own publications, which we have just read, the Catholic Church changed the day of worship from God’s holy Sabbath day, Saturday, to Sunday, the day on which the pagans worshiped their sun god.
The next verse, Daniel 7:26, tells us that the papacy, the Catholic Church, will lose its power and will eventually be destroyed. “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.”
Who gave the papacy power and authority to change God’s laws? The papacy claims that God gave them this authority, but Revelation 13:2 tells us that “. . . the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Revelation 12:9 tells us that the dragon is the devil. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Satan gave the papacy, the Catholic Church, the power and the great authority they have in this world.
Chapter three will show conclusively that these verses in Daniel and Revelation are talking specifically about the papacy.
Remember that Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15 that there would be many false priests and pastors who appear to be genuine but who speak lies and deception. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” The test is the Bible. When anyone teaches something that is different from the Bible they are the false prophets Jesus is talking about. Isaiah 8:20 says, “. . . if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Further we are told in First John 4:1 to test what pastors and ministers say by the Bible. If what they preach and teach disagrees with the Bible, they are the false prophets. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Don’t believe the lie that the Catholic Church was the first Christian church. Don’t believe the lie that Peter was the first pope. History shows us that the papacy did not appear on the scene until hundreds of years after Peter died.
The Catholic religion, actually, differs greatly from God’s religion as found in the Bible.
God has never changed His day of worship. He has never changed or annulled any of His Ten Commandment law. Can you imagine God ever repealing the first commandment that says, “You shall have no other gods before me?” Or the second that says that you shall not make or bow down to graven images? Or the third that says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain?” Or the fifth that tells us to honor our fathers and mothers? Or the sixth that tells us not to kill? Or the seventh that tells us not to commit adultery? Or the eighth that tells us not to steal? Or the ninth that tells us not to lie? Or the tenth that tells us not to covet anything that is our neighbor’s?
Then why should we even imagine that God has repealed the fourth commandment that says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy?” Why would God annul the Sabbath commandment, the fourth commandment, and keep all the others? The answer, of course, is that He did not repeal the fourth commandment. None of the Ten Commandments was ever nailed to the cross. We have seen that all of God’s commandments will be in effect throughout all eternity. Chapter two will show what was nailed to the cross.
Let us continue looking at what Jesus and the apostles did on the Sabbath day. First John 2:3-7 tells us that we know the Lord only if we keep His commandments. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby we know that we are in him. He that says he abides in him ought to walk, even as he walked. Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard from the beginning.”
Here we see that those who say they know and love Jesus yet do not keep His commandments, including the Saturday Sabbath commandment, are liars. Going to church on Sunday is not keeping the Sabbath day holy, for we have seen that Sunday is not God’s Sabbath day — Saturday is God’s Sabbath day. The verses we just read tell us that we should keep the Sabbath as Jesus did, on Saturday. He is our example. “He that says he abides in him ought to walk, even as he walked”
Some claim that the people continued to meet on the Sabbath because they did not know of the change, but Paul and Barnabas, who should certainly have known whether the Sabbath was legitimately changed to Sunday or not, persuaded a whole city to meet for worship the next Sabbath as described in Acts 13:44. “And the next sabbath day almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.” This happened after the cross and shows that the Sabbath was not nailed to the cross.
We see in Acts 17:2 that Paul, like Jesus, also regularly kept the Sabbath day holy. “And Paul, as his manner was, went in to them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” Acts 18:4,11 indicates that Paul kept 78 Sabbath days holy during the year and six months he spent in Corinth. “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”
Paul tells us in Acts 28:17 that all during his life he kept the Sabbath holy. Right before his death, probably in the year 68 AD, he knew that the Sabbath commandment was still in effect. “And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were together, he said to them, Men and brothers, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” If the Sabbath had been nailed to the cross, why did Paul continue to keep God’s Sabbath day, Saturday, holy throughout his entire life?
Many twist the writings of Paul to try to show that the Sabbath was legitimately changed by God, but Paul would certainly not try to persuade people to keep Sunday while he kept God’s Saturday Sabbath. In Romans 3:31 the apostle Paul clearly says that the law was not abolished or nailed to the cross. He specifically says the law is established. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” A law that is established is certainly not abolished.
When Jesus talked about the greatest commandments in the law in Matthew 22:35-40 He summarized the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments show us how to express love to God, and the last six show us how to express love to our fellow man. Notice that Jesus said that on these two commandments hang all the Ten Commandment law and all of the Old Testament teachings of the prophets. “Then one of them, who was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
If loving the Lord with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself relieves us of the responsibility of keeping the Sabbath day holy, why did these two commandments in the Old Testament not relieve the Israelites of this responsibility? Deuteronomy 6:5: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Leviticus 19:18: “. . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself. . . .”
We are still within the thousand generations spoken of in Deuteronomy 7:9. “Know therefore that the Lord your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” This, again shows us that we are still expected to keep the Ten Commandments, including God’s Saturday Sabbath commandment.
Many claim that the law was nailed to the cross and that since Jesus died on the cross we are no longer required to keep the Sabbath day holy. Acts 13:42-44, however, written after Christ died on the cross, tells us that Sabbath-keeping is in total harmony with the grace of God. “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”
In Psalms 119:142 we find that God’s law is the truth. “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and your law is the truth.” In fact in Psalms 119:151 we see specifically that every one of God’s commandments is the truth, including the Saturday Sabbath commandment. “You are near, O Lord; and all your commandments are truth.” Can you imagine God throwing away something that is the truth? The truth is absolute. The truth never becomes anything else but the truth.
Not only are all God’s commandments the truth, but Psalms 119:172 tells us that each one of them is righteousness. The Ten Commandments define righteousness. “My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.”
God’s days are measured from sunset to sunset. Leviticus 23:32 tells us that the Sabbath begins at even. “. . . from even unto even, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” Mark 1:32 tells us that even is at sunset. “And at even, when the sun did set, . . .” The Sabbath begins at sunset Friday evening and ends at sunset Saturday evening.
The Jews had seven yearly sabbaths, special feast days, where animal sacrifices were offered. When one of these yearly sabbaths fell on the weekly Sabbath, that day was called a high day. These yearly sabbaths with their animal sacrifices all pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Earlier we read that the preparation day, the day before the Sabbath, was Friday. Jesus was crucified and died on the day we call Good Friday, as shown in John 19:31. “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” The Jewish leaders wanted to get Christ’s body off the cross and buried before the Sabbath began at sunset on Friday evening. How ironic that having just killed the great Creator God of the universe, they were concerned about keeping His Sabbath day holy!
The special yearly sabbath days and their sacrifices ceased at the cross because Christ, the true Lamb of God, was sacrificed. To continue celebrating these yearly sabbaths with their animal sacrifices today would be a denial that Christ died for our sins. In Daniel 9:27 we read that Jesus “. . . shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” These yearly feast days are what was nailed to the cross. The weekly Sabbath of the fourth commandment remains throughout eternity. Those who are saved from the earth will continuously observe the weekly Saturday Sabbath throughout eternity. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, that I will make, shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:22,23)
Keeping the Sabbath was so important to the followers of Jesus that they would not even anoint His body on the Sabbath day. Joseph, you will remember, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Then, as described in Luke 23:53 through Luke 24:1, “. . . he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, who came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices they had prepared, and certain others with them.”
The claim is often made that because of changes in the calendar, we cannot be sure which day is the Sabbath. There was a major change made in the calendar in 1582, but this change did not interrupt the weekly seven-day cycle. In order to correct for inaccuracies that had accumulated over the centuries, ten days were dropped from October of 1582. Thursday was the fourth, and Friday was made the fifteenth. Actually, we change our calendars every four years by adding an additional day to February and call that year leap-year. These changes do not interrupt the normal sequence of the days of the week. Except in France during their short-lived atheistic revolution, the calendar has never been changed in such a way as to disrupt the normal sequence of the weekly cycle.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 shows that God does not make mistakes. When He does something, He never has to correct it because nothing is wrong with it. This, of course, includes the Ten Commandment Law of God “I know that, whatever God does, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God does it, that men should fear before him.”
At the end of creation week, God blessed the Seventh-day and made it holy. God’s Sabbath day, therefore, will remain blessed forever. “And on the seventh day God ended his work that he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work that God created and made.” (Genesis 2:2,3.)
God blessed the seventh-day Sabbath. He never blessed or hallowed or sanctified any other day of the week. Those who say they keep Sunday holy are mistaken, for how can they keep a day holy that God never made holy?
Deuteronomy 4:12,13 tells us that God’s covenant is the Ten Commandment law. The Ten Commandments are the only verses in the Bible that God Himself wrote. “And the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire: you heard the voice of the words, but saw no one; you only heard a voice. And he declared to you his covenant, that he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” How irreverent and blasphemous for people to say that one of them is no longer in effect.
People today simply do not realize how important God’s covenant, the Ten Commandments, is. Notice in Jeremiah 11:3 that you are cursed if you do not obey the Ten Commandments. “And say to them, Thus the Lord God of Israel says; Cursed be the man that does not obey the words of this covenant.”
Next, God promises in Psalms 89:34 that He will never break His covenant nor change what He has spoken. “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” The Ten Commandments will be in effect throughout eternity.
Since the Jews broke God’s covenant, God made a new covenant with His people. Hebrews 8:8-10 describes God’s new covenant. “For finding fault with them, he says, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” God’s new covenant is simply God’s Ten Commandments written on our hearts and in our minds.
Many claim that the law spoken of in the verses we just read, Hebrews 8:8-10, is different than the law in the Old Testament and does not include the Sabbath commandment. But Hebrews 8:8-10 is a direct quote of Jeremiah 31:31-33, and shows that the law in the New Testament is exactly the same as the law in the Old Testament, complete with the Sabbath commandment in it’s original and unchanged form.
Galatians 3:29 tells us that the true Christians who are keeping all ten of God’s commandments are the children of Israel today. They are the House of Israel today. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The Sabbath is God’s special sign between Him and His people. Notice in Exodus 31:13-18 that the Sabbath day, Saturday, is to be the sign between God and His people forever. “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, Verily you shall keep my sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that sanctifies you. You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”
We just saw that all true Christians who keep all ten of the commandments comprise Israel today. The Sabbath will never cease to be the sign between God and His people, even in the new earth, which God has not yet created.
We just read in Exodus 31:16 that God’s Ten Commandment covenant is a perpetual covenant. Perpetual means never ending. God’s covenant, His Ten Commandment law, will be in effect forever, and God’s holy seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday, will be the sign between God and His people forever.
Notice in Matthew 19:16,17 what Jesus said to someone who asked Him what he should do to be saved. “And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said to him, Why do you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus also said in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” These words of Jesus requiring us to keep the commandments will exist forever.
Jesus said here that in order to be saved, you must keep the commandments, and to make sure there is no doubt which law He is talking about He quotes from the Ten Commandments in the next verses. “He said unto him, Which? Jesus said, You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Since Jesus tells us to keep the commandments in order to be saved, does this make Jesus a leagalist?
Jesus told this individual that to be saved he must keep the commandments. Would you say that Jesus’ statement here to keep the commandments is part of the Gospel of Christ? Here is what Paul said about the Gospel of Christ in Second Corinthians 4:3,4. “But if our gospel is hid, it is hid from them that are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. “The god of this world is Satan. Has Satan blinded your mind against God’s Saturday Sabbath day? Is Christ’s gospel hid from you as verse three suggests?
Many claim that we are no longer required to obey the Sabbath commandment because Jesus didn’t mention this commandment in Matthew 19:18,19, that we just read. He didn’t mention the first commandment, that says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” He didn’t mention the second commandment that tells us not to make or bow down to images. He didn’t mention the third commandment that says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.”
Since Jesus didn’t mention these commandments, are we no longer obliged to obey them either? You can see how faulty that argument is. When the highest authority in the universe tells you to do something, it is extremely foolish to disobey.
Just before Jesus left this earth at the end of His ministry He said in Matthew 28:19,20, “Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” We just read that Jesus told us to keep His commandments if we expect to be saved.
Revelation 1:10 mentions the Lord’s day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,” Many think that the Lord’s day is Sunday, but God only blessed and sanctified one day, the seventh-day Sabbath, which is Saturday. Let us consult the Bible to discover which day is the Lord’s day. Isaiah 58:13,14 tells us that the Sabbath day is God’s day. “If you turn your foot away from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” Here God calls the Sabbath day “My holy day.” Saturday is the Lord’s day according to the Bible, and not Sunday. Notice also that these verses tell us what we should and should not do on the Sabbath.
In Ezekiel 20:12,20 God refers to the Sabbath as “My sabbaths.” “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.” Since what God does is forever, Saturday, the Sabbath day, will always be the Lord’s day. In the Bible the first day of the week, Sunday, is never referred to as the Lord’s day.
When speaking with Sabbath-keepers, Sunday-keepers often refer to Saturday as “your Sabbath.” Why do they do this? The Bible says that Saturday is God’s Sabbath in the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:10. “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God:”
In the New Testament Hebrews 4:9-11 says specifically that the Sabbath remains. It was not nailed to the cross or otherwise abolished. “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The word “rest” was translated from the Greek word sabbatismos, which means “a keeping of the Sabbath.” Paul tells us to enter into that rest, or that keeping of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was not nailed to the cross, and today we are expected to obey fully the seventh-day Sabbath commandment. This verse in the New International Version of the Bible says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.”
Those who refuse to see the Saturday Sabbath truth of the fourth commandment will receive strong delusion and continue to believe a lie according to Second Thessalonians 2:10,11. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” Remember that Psalms 119:151 says that all God’s commandments are truth.
Nowhere does the Bible tell us to keep the first day of the week for anything. All the Bible tells us to do on Sunday, the first day of the week, is to work. Exodus 20:9,10: “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates:”
Let us now consider every verse in the Bible that mentions the “first day of the week.” There are eight of them. Five texts describe the women coming to Jesus’ tomb early on Sunday morning. Notice how many of these verses mention that the Sabbath was ending as Sunday was beginning.
Matthew 28:1: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”
Mark 16:1,2: “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”
Luke 24:1: “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices they had prepared, and certain others with them.”
Mark 16:9: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
John 20:1: “The first day of the week came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”
Many assume that John 20:19 describes a Sunday worship service, but the verse clearly says that the disciples were there because they were afraid of the Jews. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace be unto you.”
Next, Acts 20:7 describes a meeting where Paul preached until midnight. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Remember God’s days start at sunset and end at sunset the next day. The Sabbath, the seventh day, ended at sunset when the first day started. The disciples met on Saturday night after sunset. The way the world reckons time, Sunday starts at Midnight. Paul quit preaching at midnight just as Sunday was beginning. So even as the world recons time Paul was not holding a Sunday morning service. The phrase “to break bread” refers to eating dinner, as verse eleven suggests. Many claim this was a communion service celebrating the Lord’s resurrection. Communion is a memorial, not to His resurrection, but to His death as First Corinthians 11:26 shows. “For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death till he comes.”
The Jews kept their accounting books on the first day of the week. In First Corinthians 16:1,2 Paul is simply telling believers to set aside an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem so he can pick it up quickly on his way. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so you do. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
We have just looked at every verse in the Bible where the phrase “first day of the week“ is mentioned. Notice that in these verses concerning the first day, and in fact the entire Bible, there is no commandment, instruction, injunction, mandate, precept, or even a suggestion that Sunday should be kept holy. There is certainly no clear command from God, as there was on Mt. Sinai when He gave the fourth commandment concerning the Sabbath day in His own voice. There is no precedent for Sunday observance anywhere in the entire Bible. On the other hand, the Bible describes many Saturday Sabbath observances as we have seen.
In trying to justify Sunday-keeping, many frantically search the Bible for a precedent for Sunday observance. Suppose they found one. Suppose they found an instance of a Sunday religious meeting in the Bible. Would that justify Sunday-keeping? Would that justify working on God’s holy Sabbath day, Saturday? What would they do with the multitude of Saturday religious meetings we have looked at in the Bible? The Bible describes many instances where God’s people have lied and otherwise committed sins. Does this justify lying, or breaking any of the Ten Commandments? Of course not. A Sunday meeting, if it were found, would not justify breaking God’s Sabbath commandment either.
Deuteronomy 4:2 tells us not to change the Word of God and gives us the reason for this: “You shall not add to the word that I command you, neither shall you take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” Notice the reason given for not changing God’s Word: “that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.” To claim that the Sabbath is no longer in effect is to change the Word of God. Proverbs 30:6 says, “Add not to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.”
How much more permanent can the Ten Commandments be than is described by Luke 16:17? “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Ecclesiastes 1:4 tells us that the earth will be here forever. “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides for ever.” Isn’t it clear that the Saturday Sabbath commandment will be here forever also? God’s people will obey the Saturday Sabbath commandment in the new earth throughout eternity, as we read in Isaiah 66:23: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says the Lord.”
It was Jesus Himself who gave the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai. We all recognize Jesus as the one and only Savior. James 4:12 tells us that He is also the Lawgiver. “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who are you that judges another?” Hebrews 13:8 tells us that, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Furthermore, Jesus also tells us in Malachi 3:6 that He will never change. “For I am the Lord, I change not;” Jesus is the same now as when He gave the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai.
Romans 6:16 tells us that we worship whomever we obey. “Do you not know that whomever you obey, his servants you are; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Thus, if we keep the Ten Commandments we obey Christ and are His servants. Since it was the pope and the Catholic Church who changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, if we keep Sunday we obey the pope and are his servants.
First John 5:3 defines our love to God. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” No Sunday-keeper can love God after he understands about the Sabbath, for Sunday-keepers break the fourth commandment every week. No Sunday-keeper can love God, for we have seen that the Sunday-keeper is not obeying God, but following the dictates of the pope and the Catholic Church. Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep MY commandments.”
It looks as if the time has come when those who disobey God are believing lies, called fables in Second Timothy 4:3,4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Again, remember that Psalms 119:151 tells us that all God’s commandments are truth.
Sin is breaking any of the Ten Commandments. This definition of sin is found in First John 3:4. “Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
We must now look at the Bible definition of a wicked person. Psalms 119:155 tells us that the wicked are people who do not obey the Ten Commandments. “Salvation is far from the wicked: for they do not seek your statutes.” Psalms 119:53 also tells us that the wicked are those who ignore God’s law. “Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake your law.”
Daniel 12:4,10 tells us that the wicked, those who break any of the Ten Commandments, will never understand the Bible and God’s truth. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” When Sunday-keepers attempt to explain Bible prophecy they never get it right. In fact the explanations of Bible prophecy that they have come up with are designed by Satan to play right into his hands in order to deceive the people of the world.
Matthew 4:4 is a very important verse. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Out of the mouth of God came the Ten Commandments, including the Saturday Sabbath commandment, and man shall live by every word of them. In this verse Jesus Himself completely validates our requirement to keep Saturday, the Sabbath day, holy and to do no work therein. Jesus tells us to keep the commandments. Sunday-keepers tell us to keep Sunday. Who do you suppose you should believe, Jesus or the Sunday-keepers?
Most of the people of this world will be lost, because, for any number of reasons, they refuse to obey God and keep His commandments. Matthew 7:13,14 tells us: “Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many that go that way: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leads to life, and there are few that find it.” To be saved you must keep all ten of God’s commandments, as we have seen.
Those who are keeping Sunday instead of Saturday, the Sabbath day, have believed they were doing the right thing. Notice Proverbs 12:15 “. . . He that hearkens to counsel is wise.”
We saw that Sunday-keeping was instituted by the Catholic Church. Sunday-keeping is a Catholic tradition. Sunday-keeping is a tradition of men. Matthew 15:3,8,9 warns us of the danger of following traditions of men. “But he answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? These people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Proverbs 28:9 tells us that God will not hear the prayers of those who disregard His commandments. “He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Here we see that the prayers of Sunday-keepers, after they know about the Sabbath, are abomination to God. They have turned their ears away from hearing God’s law, especially the Saturday Sabbath commandment.
Don’t forget that the devil, Satan, can answer prayer and usually does to make people who are living in sin think that God is answering their prayers. Satan even gives people his spirit and makes them believe that it is the Holy Spirit. Those who disregard any of the Ten Commandments cannot have the Holy Spirit, for the Bible tells us in Acts 5:32 that God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. “We are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.” Sunday-keepers, therefore, cannot have the Holy Spirit because by keeping Sunday they are not obeying God.
The Bible warns us to be on guard against the deceptions of the devil in Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Peter tells us in Acts 5:29 that, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Do you suppose Peter would have told us this if he had been a Sunday-keeper? Those who claim they are born-again and saved but disregard any of the Ten Commandments, including the Saturday Sabbath commandment, will be lost. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21-23 that only those who keep all of God’s commandments will be saved. “Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I say to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.“
In Numbers 15:32-36 we find an object lesson by which God sought to impress the Israelites with the sanctity of the Sabbath. “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks on the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said to Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp. And all the congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.” Harsh punishment, to be sure. But this story has served to save countless numbers of people by making them realize that God’s Sabbath is inviolable. This man died as an example to us so that we would realize how important Sabbath-keeping really is. “Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (First Corinthians 10:11). The penalty for breaking the Saturday Sabbath commandment is the same as it was then — death. The penalty is only delayed for a little while.
We are going to be held responsible for obeying the clear teachings of the Bible. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.” James 1:22 says “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We need to be on guard against self-deception.
God will not take anyone to heaven who would commit a sin once he got there, as Nahum 1:9 tells us. “What do you imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.”
Those who are in Sunday-keeping churches will not necessarily be lost if they are keeping Sunday in ignorance. But, when they find out that Saturday is the Sabbath day, God requires them to obey completely the Sabbath commandment and come out of those churches. In John 10:14-16,26-28 Jesus describes these people as other sheep. “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, who are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.“
Do you hear the Lord’s voice telling you to keep Saturday, the Sabbath day, holy? Then do as Second Corinthians 6:14-17 tells you to do: “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
Also in Revelation 18:4 God calls for His people to come out of churches that are not adhering to the full truth of the Bible. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you do not partake of her sins, and that you do not receive her plagues.” Regardless of what priests and preachers tell you to do, God tells you to get out of the false Sunday-keeping churches. They are leading you straight to destruction in the lake of fire. “And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15). God will never accept any of Satan’s counterfeit religions.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The Bible plainly tells us that only commandment keepers will be saved. The word “overcomes” in Revelation 21:7,8 refers to overcoming sin. We saw that sin is breaking any of the Ten Commandments. Keeping Sunday breaks more than the fourth commandment. It also breaks the first because Sunday-keepers are putting the pope and the Catholic Church before God. Remember, it was the pope and the Catholic Church that changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. “He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
It is very dangerous to tell people that they do not need to obey the Ten Commandments today and that they do not need to keep Saturday, God’s Sabbath day, holy as required by the fourth commandment. Those who do this are a party to the pope’s conspiracy to change the Law of God and will be lost. Here in Revelation 22:18,19 is what God says about people who change His word and His laws. “For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book.”
Many who neglect the Sabbath and who will be lost vehemently claim that they are born-again Christians. Remembering that sin is breaking one or more of the Ten Commandments, here is the Bible’s definition of a born-again Christian, found in First John 3:9: “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Born-again Christians never break any of God’s Ten Commandments. Born-again Christians are Saturday Sabbath-keepers.
Does being a born-again Christian according to First John 3:9 sound as if it is impossible? Of course we can’t do it in our own strength. We need God’s help to accomplish this. If this is what we really want with all our hearts, and we submit ourselves totally to God, He will give us the power to overcome sin completely and to obey perfectly His Ten Commandments. He will do for us what He promises in Ezekiel 36:27 “I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
In Bible prophecy a woman represents a church. A pure, virtuous woman represents Christ’s true church. Isaiah 51:16 says, “I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are my people.” Zion is one of the terms applied to God’s people in Old Testament times. Notice in Jeremiah 6:2 that Zion had one daughter. “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” This only daughter of Zion is Christ’s true church today, which is represented by a comely and delicate woman to indicate the church’s utmost purity. Christ’s true church is referred to in Second Corinthians 11:2 as a virgin. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Revelation 12:17 describes this true church. In this instance the devil, Satan, is extremely angry at the true church. “And the dragon was full of rage at the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Notice here that God’s true church keeps all of the Ten Commandments. Ephesians 4:4,5 confirms that there is, indeed, only one true church. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
The Jews are not God’s people today. Jesus said in Matthew 23:37,38, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone those who are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” He also told the Jews in Matthew 21:43, “Therefore I say to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” That nation is the true church today, consisting of those who keep all of God’s commandments.
Since adultery is a breach of trust and a breach of contract between a man and his wife, the Bible uses the symbol of adultery as the breach of trust and the breach of contract between God and His people. A harlot, therefore, represents one or more of the many counterfeit churches. This can be shown by Jeremiah 3:8,9. The reference to committing adultery with stones and with stocks in these verses refers to the idols made of wood and stone that the people were worshiping. “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.” Another text that shows this is Ezekiel 23:37. “That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols they have committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bore to me, to pass through the fire, to devour them.” Revelation 17:5 describes a counterfeit church and her numerous counterfeit daughter churches. “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the mother and mistress of all churches. — Art. 10, Creed of Pope Pius IV. Double Bull of Pope Pius IV, Nov. 13 and Dec. 9, 1564, trans. in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, New York: Harper, 1919, Vol. 1, p. 99.
Remember that the devil gave the papacy its “power and seat and great authority.” Since the papacy changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, the daughter churches include all the churches that obey the pope in their day of worship.
Notice the outstanding characteristic of God’s true church given in Revelation 12:17. “And the dragon was full of rage at the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The people in God’s true church keep all of God’s commandments, including the Saturday, Sabbath, commandment. We have seen that Saturday, the Sabbath, is specifically the sign between God and His only church.
Soon there is coming on the earth a time of trouble worse than any trouble the world has ever seen. This time of trouble is mentioned in Daniel 12:1. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
To compound this trouble the devil is planning a most overwhelming deception for the people of earth. Just as he counterfeits every other Bible doctrine, Satan plans to impersonate Christ at the opportune time. Second Corinthians 11:14 tells us, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Human eyes have never seen a sight such as the one Satan will present. Satan was originally an angel in heaven; he is the most beautiful and the most intelligent being that God ever created. Human beings will be dazzled when Satan walks the streets of the cities and towns of this world in all his splendor and glory. He will speak softly, in a pleasant, melodious, soothing voice, and will say many of the things Jesus said many centuries before. He will heal the sick and will perform many miracles just as Jesus did. Matthew 24:24 tells us that Satan “shall show great signs and wonders.” The devil’s miracles, his appearance, his dazzling brilliance, and his pleasant manner will be almost more than even Christ’s elect can withstand, and they will very nearly accept this overpowering deception. Nearly the entire human race will fall down and worship the devil, believing that he is Christ. In his guise as Christ, Satan will say that he changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, and nearly the entire world will believe it. “Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:23,24).
The issue of contention during this coming time of trouble will be over whether to worship on the Lord’s day, the Sabbath, Saturday, or whether to obey the pope and worship on Sunday. This religious persecution will be very bloody. During the Dark Ages the Catholics slaughtered over 150 million Christians because they wanted to worship God according to the Bible. This will happen again. Many of God’s true people will lose their lives in this bloody turmoil, but this time the Lord will not tolerate a wholesale slaughter of His people. He will come and put an end to Sunday-keeping and religious persecution forever. And when He comes, those who have disregarded His law will finally learn that God means exactly what He says.
“ ‘And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.’ (Exodus 31:18). Nothing written on those tables could be blotted out. The precious record of the law was placed in the ark of the testament and is still there, safely hidden from the human family. But in God’s appointed time He will bring forth these tables of stone to be a testimony to all the world against the disregard of His commandments and against the idolatrous worship of a counterfeit Sabbath.” — The Law, E. G. White, 1901, p. 4.